20 years on from the original (and notorious) I.D. comes a sequel that dares to put a British Asian undercover cop at the centre of the drama. Like before it touches on the same issues concerning the id and who you really are when your job demands you play a role so well you must become it (and maybe lose some of yourself in the process).
However, it also has a lot to say about what it means to be British, what it means to be unconnected from the establishment, the corporatisation of football, the unimportance placed on the match going football fan, billionaires buying up British culture, global fan bases who will never step within 50 miles of the ground pandered to by the clubs, the new rise of the far right, islamophobia, priorities of the London Met police and so much more…
Much will be said about Simon Rivers excellent portrayal of Mo, the conflicted Muslim police detective whose choice of vocation has already made him estranged from his father. Now he must go against his religion. He drinks, take drugs and fights to survive a days work while trying to hold on desperately to his own dignity and who he really is.
Equally satisfying is the reprisal of Lee Ross’s Gumbo -now a middle aged man discarded by the modern rat race. He is integral to the ID story world. Just as in 1995 Gumbo is the heart and soul of the story. He’s not out to impress anyone. He is who he is and supporting Shadwell is what defines him - end of. The famous line: "I f*cking love you Gumbo" has had a life of its own over the last 20 years and it was a pleasure to hear it again.
However, in a film full of blokes being blokes the stand out performance is arguably from Liverpool’s Christine Tremarco as Alison. Her character is the spouse of an undercover cop and her strength and individuality shines in a story about tribalism.
While Alan Clarke’s The Firm was the first drama to go under the skin of the hooligan phenomena, I.D. was the first feature film. It spawned a whole new sub-genre as a result of its surprise success in the home entertainment market. It’s been much copied over the last two decades, but never bettered. ID2 is a much more introverted tale. It is less about the fighting - although there plenty of it - and more about the politics - both the micro and macro. It would be fitting if this was the closing chapter on the film sub-genre it created.